stories: malia

I’ve been a family support volunteer with Side by Side for almost four years, so I have watched the Towne’s journey from afar and through mutual friends. I remember the sadness the day I heard that Ben was gone, then seeing them transform that unspeakable pain into a life mission.

I remember every kid I have loved that has since lost the battle and the pain of every parent that I’ve supported through the disease. I remember at Side by Side camp last August when I got to share with the family at my table that there was an incredible breakthrough in research. I will never forget the tears over breakfast that morning as a mom in the midst of a battle for her son just kept saying, “There might be a cure. There might be a cure. Please just let it be in time.”

On Dec 30th, I read the Towne’s blog and was reminded again of this little boy I’d never met who had such an amazing impact on the world. Then ten minutes later, I got news that one of my Side by Side buddies, a six year old girl, had passed away on Christmas day. GRRRRR!!!!! So I issued a challenge to my Facebook friends: donate something, anything, to Ben Towne Foundation to find a CURE and I’ll match it. And since I work at Microsoft, they will match my donation, too. Two days later, the tally was at $4935. And the final tally between my friends’ donations, my matching and that of Microsoft, was somewhere over $5600!

One of the things I found so cool about this little New Year’s challenge is that across my friends, there were donations of $10 and donations of several hundred dollars. As these were all my friends, I have a pretty good sense of their financial challenges and know that each one gave from their heart, out of what they had to give, and every donation, no matter the size, came with love and encouragement both toward me as their friend and toward the families challenged by this disease.


*Thank you so much Malia your inspiring and heartfelt efforts. Though Ben was never able to attend Camp Side by Side we are grateful for the ways in which so many like you are walking alongside and supporting families in the midst of childhood cancer here in Seattle. Thank you to everyone who contributed via Malia’s New Years Challenge as well. What an amazing way to start 2012!

Speaking of 2012…stay tuned on Monday, January 23rd for our big announcement!